tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC June 24, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
bocce ball. >> that is going to do it for us. world news is next. >> we tonight on "world news," sudden impact. breaking news tonight. a semi-truck hits a moving amtrak train. >> is everyone out of this car? >> a jolt, a fire ball. passengers trapped in the desert, calling for doctors. washout. a city on the run. 40,000 people in the path of the what they're calling a noah flood in north dakota. peter falk, the tv legend, has died. columbo with his rumbled raincoat and razor-sharp mind. bionic dog. the abandoned puppy saved by amazing science and caring strangers. and, our "person of the week."
good evening. as we come on the air, we have breaking news in a stretch of desert outside reno, nevada. a tractor trailer mysteriously slammed into a speeding amtrak train. a giant fire ball enveloped the track. more than 200 passengers were on board the train. and we know that some have died, some are reported to be trapped in the wreckage. and abc's lisa stark, who covered transportation, has the latest on what happened. it's supposed to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the country, lisa. >> reporter: i'm sure it was until that moment, diane. at least two people are confirmed dead so far. many more injured. blackhawk helicopters actually ferried some of the injured to nearby trauma centers. the collision occurred shortly before 11:30 this morning pacific time, as amtrak's california train traveled from chicago to san francisco. it was a scene of panic and chaos right off the collision. as passengers and crew scrambled to safety.
>> somebody's out there. >> reporter: the impact created a fire ball. a massive burst of flame and smoke. jim bickley was on the train and spoke with abc news. >> my wife and i were in the fourth car, the observation car. we felt a jolt and a big ball of flames went by the left window with a bunch of black smoke. people yelled. >> reporter: on board, 204 passengers and a crew of 14. the train jerked to a halt and bickley soon discovered what had gone wrong. >> we were driving along on the train and apparently a truck decided it was going to run the stop out in the middle of the desert. nothing around here for miles and hit the side of the amtrak car. and it was a coach car with people in it. and there was a lot of smoke so we decided to stick our head out one of the doors and saw that the train was on fire. >> reporter: the few cars and campers traveling the nearby road stopped to help the passengers who got out.
others were reportedly trapped in the burning rail cars. >> i did see a lady carried out in a blanket that people were carrying it, using it like a stretcher and yelling for medics, that kind of stuff. >> reporter: the nevada highway patrol and reno fire and police rushed to the scene. >> there's multiple injuries. there could be more. at this point, i don't know. >> reporter: now, the national transportation safety board has launched a team to this accident. railroad crossings remain a safety hazard, according to the ntsb. here in the u.s., a train collides with a vehicle or person every 100 minutes. diane? >> what a scene in the nevada desert tonight. thank you, lisa. and, now, we move to what they're calling a noah flood. big, deep and historic. the river in minot, north dakota, broke through the levees. it's rising so fast, you can watch it inch up the sides of homes, as now 40,000 people brace themselves. hundreds of businesses likely to be lost. and abc's david kerley has the story tonight. david? >> reporter: good evening,
diane. this water is moving very fast. in fact, watch this ball travel down central avenue in just the next couple of seconds. it is rising fast, too, about a food every four hours. down river, they are actually trying to evacuate as quickly as possible, but for thousands here in minot, it's too late. water is swallowing parts of minot, and this isn't even the worst of it yet. already more than ten feet above flood stage, another four-plus feet of water is coming. cassandra martin moved to town just ten days ago, and already knows her house is under water. were you able to get everything out? >> no. we had to leave everything. and i'm due in six weeks with a new baby and we have nothing. >> reporter: the dam protecting town is spilling water at a rate 200 times what it would normally be. there is little officials can do. >> by tomorrow, a lot of those houses will be completely submerged. we flew with north dakota's governor and the national guard general here. water already reaching the roofs of some houses. crews scrambling to build up levees.
and the admission, the resignation, that 4,200 homes and 200 businesses cannot be saved. this is pretty painful. >> well, it is. here, we knew there was nothing that we could do to protect the community. as the river rose and more levees were overtopped, you know, you saw literally hundreds of homes under water. >> i don't want to put her in a cage. >> reporter: it's not just people that are homeless. evacuees are dropping off their pets at this makeshift animal shelter. 450 animals already housed in a research center. jamie brought three dogs and this afternoon, her two cats, knowing her house will be gone in the next 24 hours. >> it hasn't sunk in, but we're doing the best we can right now so -- >> reporter: and the water just keeps on coming, diane. it's not expected to crest until late tomorrow night and when it's here, it's going to stick around for a couple of days. diane? >> and that ball was really traveling fast. david, thank you. and now, after 16 years as a
most wanted fugitive, james "whitey" bulger was back in boston today. where his murderous gang once ruled the streets. his girlfriend was flown back, too. and the fbi says that $800,000 in cash was stashed in the walls of his santa monica apartment. his guns were inside hollowed out books. you thought that only happened in the movies. in boston, families of some of his victims watched at the courthouse. and, as we were coming on the air last night, details were just breaking of what authorities called a foiled terror plot on u.s. soil, aimed at america's military men and women in seattle. well, today, we learned more about the suspects, born and raised in america. and, a wife, who is talking from behind her veil. abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross is back with more tonight. >> reporter: the fbi had all the clues it needed about the intentions of the alleged ringleader right on his own youtube videos. >> we must establish jihad.
i don't care what anybody says about that. you can turn me into the fbi, whatever. >> reporter: abu khalid abdul-latif lived in an $800 a month seattle apartment with his 3-year-old son and grateful wife. >> he work hard to take care of me. i don't have to pay rent. i don't have to pay food. >> reporter: in and out of prison after a troubled youth, and the owner of a failed janitorial business, abdul-latif filed for bankruptcy just last month, claiming to have only $1.08 in his two bank accounts. but he didn't appear to be one of life's losers on his videos, with his crying son sometimes in the background, talking big about jihad against american military personnel. >> there are even united states military soldiers who are over there raping women and are killing muslims and are not being held accountable for it. >> reporter: the fbi also discovered the suspect has a connection to yemen, where he sought to find a job, and appears to be yet another disciple of the radical cleric,
american-born an war al awlaki. on you with tube, wearing camouflage, abdul-latif praises awlaki and criticizes president obama for authorizing the killing of awlaki. >> he's made war against islam. he's even put a hit out on anwar al awlaki, our brother. may allah protect him. >> reporter: the fbi is all too aware that it was awlaki who encouraged the accused shooter at ft. hood, and, in fact, abdul-latif praised the ft. hood shooter. also of concern to the fbi, is that the suspect is one of dozens that appears to have been radicalized in an american prison. and we'll have more on that with a full investigative report. >> on what happens in prison to american-born prisoners there. thank you, brian. and, now, libya, and the push-back on the president. the house of representatives voted resoundingly today against the u.s. military action. but did not cut funding.
which means it was a symbolic vote. however, as you know, messages get scrambled as they whip around the globe, and in tripoli, gadhafi supporters mistakenly thought the u.s. had declared the end of the war. abc's jeffrey kofman sent us in these snapshots from the ground there. it's a confused celebration of something that did not happen. actor peter falk died today at the age of 83. we knew him best as colombo, in the raincoat, the detective with the sharp mind and the rumbled clothes. abc's david wright has more on a one of a kind actor and character. >> excuse me, just one more thing. >> reporter: peter falk said of colombo, you feel sorry for him. he looks like he's seeing nothing. but in fact, he sees everything. as he put it to charlie rose, who didn't love colombo? >> you love colombo? >> i do. eskimos love colombo.
>> yes, they do. >> descendants of the aztecs love colombo. one more thing. >> reporter: he was trained as a certified public accountant. he hated it, and started doing community theater on the side. >> oh, one little thing. >> reporter: he lost his right eye to cancer at age 3. casting directors discouraged him from trying movies and tv, because of his glass eye. too distracting, he said. he proved them wrong. >> the principle is $600. >> reporter: he was nominated for an oscar twice, and appeared in dozens of films, includes "the princess bride." >> when i was your age, television was called books. and this is a special book. >> reporter: but the role he truly embodied lieutenant colombo. clom beep's trademark was the trench coat. despite an urban legend it's in the smithsonian, falk always kept it at home in his closet. and those pestering questions -- >> you and your brother the only ones living here? you mean you would make things
up? did somebody call you? >> reporter: police academies now teach that to cadets. they call it the colombo interrogation technique. for real. colombo ran for 69 episodes through two decades. he solved a murder or a kidnapping a week. >> lieutenant colombo. >> reporter: but never got a promotion. he was always lieutenant colombo. and he always will be. david wright, abc news, hollywood. and, still ahead on "world news," fa young man with an award-winning success story, and a secret. he is going to tell you it tonight. and, meet the world's first bionic dog. abandoned by his family, but science and strangers gave him puppy love. and, the dancer, and mother, who choreographed a dance for children like her son. and she and they are "persons of the week."
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just don't feel like they used to. are you one of them? remember when you had " more energy for 18 holes with your buddies. more passion for the one ya love. more fun with your family and riends. it could be ! a treatable condition called low testosterone or lw t. come on, stop living in the shadows. you've got a life to live. [ male announcer ] so don't blame it on aging. talk to your doctor and go to isitlowt.com to find out more. and now, we want you to meet one of the most successful young men in this country, stepping out of the shadows to tell you a secret. because he says there are so many who share that secret, too. his life raises a provocative question about an issue that's enflamed america, and abc's dan harris has his exclusive story now. >> reporter: for jose antonio vargas, it's been a brilliant career in journalism. a pulitzer prize, a front row seat to the 2008 presidential campaign, an exclusive interview
with facebook founder mark zuckerberg. and all through this, you're carrying a huge secret. >> there wasn't a moment that i wasn't thinking about it. there was not a moment that i wasn't thinking about it. >> reporter: at age 12, his mother sent him from the philippines to live with his grandparents in mountain view, california. it wasn't until he was 16, when he tried to use his green card to get a driver's permit, that he realized there was a problem. >> i give it to this woman, she just looked at it, flipped it around, and he said, "this is fake. don't come back here. don't come back here again." >> reporter: that's when the secrets and lies began. as an adult, when he needed a driver's license to get a job, he used fake documents. you were committing a crime. >> yes. yes, i was. you have to do what you have to do. i wanted to work. i wanted to prove that i was worthy of being here. >> reporter: he even had help from his high school principal and superintendant. now, there are a lot of people that would say, that's a real act of kindness.
there are some people that would say, however, that you were helping this kid commit a crime. >> yep. and you know what, i'd do it all over again. >> if you worked with kids that you knew were undocumented and watched them just fade away as they begin to approach adulthood, it wasn't too hard to decide, in your heart, that the right thing to do is to try to help young people. >> reporter: vargas says he's going public now to bring attention to the d.r.e.a.m. act, a bill that would allow illegal immigrants who came to this country as children, to become citizens if they go to college or serve in the military. there are an estimated 66,000 illegal immigrants here who have a bachelor's degree or higher. >> we are not who you think we are. we don't just mow your lawns and babysit your kids and serve you tacos. >> reporter: the critics of the d.r.e.a.m. act say that this rewards undocumented parents, and that it would be an open invitation to fraud. >> but who are we punishing?
we're punishing kids, who no fault of their own, are then left out here in the system. >> reporter: are you not giving an incentive to parents in other countries to come here illegally with their children? >> what do we do with all these kids that are going to american schools that we are investing in anyway? what are we suppose to do with them? what are we suppose to do with them? >> reporter: federal officials are aware of vargas' public revelations and their early reaction suggests they may not deport him. but even if they do, he says there is one thing that nobody can take away from him. >> you can call me whatever you want to call me, but in my heart, in my heart, i'm an american. >> reporter: dan harris, abc news, mountain view, california. >> and, tonight, "nightline" will have more of this interview, in depth with dan and jose antonio vargas. coming up, that bionic dog
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caw caw! [ director ] what is that? that's a horrible crow. here are some things that i'll make as little portals. honestly, i'd love to do this for the rest of my life so i've got to take care of my heart. for me, cheerios is a good place to start. [ male announcer ] got something you'll love to keep doing? take care of your heart. you can start with cheerios. the natural whole grain oats can help lower cholesterol. brrrbb... makes you feel ageless. [ male announcer ] it's time. love your heart so you can do what you love. cheerios. [ bob ] squak. all this week, we were all this week, we were struck by the story of a resilient dog, some strangers and the staggering power of science. here's abc's ron claiborne. >> reporter: he's being called the "bionic dog." naki'o is believed to be the world's first canine to have four prosthetic legs. christie pace adopted him a year and a half ago. he had been abandoned in an icy
cellar. he lost all of his pows due to frostbite. >> i have a soft spot for my rescue animals in general. i just knew i could help him out. >> reporter: she raised money to pay for prosthetics for naki'o's two rear legs. then the maker of the artificial legs offered to make two more, for free. just look at naki'o now. >> definitely is a more confident dog. he can actually run after a ball, and beat another dog to a ball. it's really nice to see. >> reporter: veterinarians are calling it groundbreaking. >> i saw a happy dog running around, really being a dog. that's the whole point in bringing them back to their original want, and wanting to play and live and run around. >> reporter: in recent years, veterinarian medicine has advanced, well, by leaps. there are now braces, prosthetics, even implants for dogs and cats who've lost limbs. a few weeks ago, a siberian husky named zeus got the first front leg implant.
and naki'o, he's running, and jumping, these days, just like any other dog. ron claiborne, abc news, new york. and, coming up, a famous mother and her son show us the beauty of a singular dance. i have copd. if you have it, you know how hard it can be to breathe and what that feels like. copd includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. spiriva helps control my copd symptoms... by keeping my airways open a full 24 hours. plus, it reduces copd flare-ups. spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that does both. and it's steroid-free. spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate. these may worsen with spiriva. discuss all medicines you take, even eye drops. stop taking spiriva and call
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and, finally tonight, our "person of the week." you may not have heard of a documentary called "in my hands." you may not have called of a genetic condition called marfan's syndrome. but we think you'll recognize a mother who gave her son and his friends a way to bring the world their song. ♪ for many people, she is simply the greatest dancer ever on broadway. ann reinking, here in "all that jazz." something about her precision, her wit, her intelligence. and those legs! she is a tony award-winning choreographer for the musical "chicago." and 21 years ago, her son chris was born.
and diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called marfan's syndrome, in which bones and tissues grow longer and in different proportions. chris is 6'2". marfan's also means countless surgeries to correct spines, vision and to make sure their hearts don't grow too large. and there is a different fear for the heart, too. >> he said i just want someone to love. and, you know, i think that one of the biggest worries along with your own personal health is that you will find someone who will love you even though you're different. we're here to do a dance. >> reporter: and now reinking has produced a documentary called "in my hands" with children of marfan's syndrome. her son, chris, is a star. >> put your knees together. >> i learned my entire life to deal with it. a giraffe is not going to call himself weird because he has four legs and a long neck. that's how he evolved and lived his entire life.
>> when you're a teenager, you don't want to look different. being very tall can set you apart. and you just want to fit in. we all do. >> i see all the people who care so much about themselves who just really have such nice bodies. and no matter what i do, i'm never going to have a perfect body. >> together, two, three, four -- >> reporter: so, the famous choreographer decided to create a dance. the dance they were born to do. >> with you, it's all length. it's taking who you are and making it work. >> reporter: with the symmetry, the joy in their length. so that when it was over, we could all see the incredible beauty of their singular song. >> just seeing that spark in their eye and them waking up and feeling better each day. the human spirit is the greatest
thing on earth. >> and so we choose ann reinking and her son chris, and the joy they all bring us with their dance. thank you for watching tonight. you can always get the latest on every story at abcnews.com. "20/20" will be along later tonight. and david muir will be back at his post in this chair this weekend. i'll see you on monday. police confront a growing gang crisis, controversial alliance they've forld to fight it deputies going door to door with a warning for an east bay neighborhood about a sex predator back on the streets tonight.
>> two killed in a collision involving a bay area bound amtrak train. we're live with late new pictures from the scene. >> he's been a victim of racial injustice. >> new charges of racism tonight in the arrest of an airline passenger with baggy pants. >> good evening, everyone. >> we're going to start with growing gang violence in the south baid. >> led to a controversial new partnership in san jose. police working with the federal immigration agents to tackle this problem. we're live from a neighborhood struggling with increased gang activity. >> right. two ice agents getting to work helping the gang investigation unit. the police chief says he welcomes these added resources and the agents knowledge and what they're able to tap into and bring to the table but not everybody is